Home safety checklist for seniors
Making sure your loved one is safe at home
As your loved ones get older, making sure they’re safe at home becomes an increasing priority. As they age, factors like reduced mobility, decreased vision and other health conditions make our seniors more susceptible to accidents at home.
In particular, the number one issue that gets reported to us is falls in the home. It’s crucial that we minimise the risk as much as possible. In honour of Seniors Week 2023, we have created this home safety checklist for seniors. It can help you look at making vital modifications so your older family members can live safely in their own homes.
1. General home safety
Emergency contacts: Make sure your loved one has easy access to emergency contacts. There should be family, friends, doctors and nearby hospitals displayed prominently. Program these contacts into your loved one’s phone so it’s easy for them to call when they need help.
Clutter-free pathways: Make sure all walkways are free of obstacles and clutter throughout the entire home.
Lighting: Make sure all areas of the house are well lit, especially hallways and staircases. You could consider nightlights in areas like bathrooms and hallways so your loved one can get to the toilet in the middle of the night.
A fall detector or alarm: if your loved one has fallen before or you’re worried about it, you could buy a special alarm they wear. It could be a smart watch or a necklace which can alert you if they’ve had a fall.
Fire safety: Make sure working smoke alarms are fitted and you have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket handy just in case.
Cord safety: Reduce the chance of your loved one tripping by making sure any loose cords and cables have been secured with electrical tape.
Appliance safety: Check all your loved one’s appliances and replace any that have frayed electrical cords.
2. Lounge room
Stable furniture: Furniture should be sturdy enough to support someone if they lean on it. Test each piece of furniture in the room and take away lightweight or unstable furniture that can tip over.
Secure rugs: Make sure all rugs have non-slip backing so they don’t slide around. Another alternative is to remove rugs altogether.
Clear pathways: Make sure there's enough space between furniture for them to get around easily.
Padding: Add padding to sharp corners on furniture to reduce the likelihood of bumps and scrapes.
Put items within reach: Place commonly used items at waist or eye level so they’re easy to grab. Make sure you don’t have things up too high so they don’t need to use a step stool.
Anti-slip mats: Place non-slip mats in front of the sink and stove.
Automatic shutoffs: Consider appliances with auto shut-off features to avoid potential hazards.
Handles: Replace sink handles with ones that are easier to turn.
Handrails: Install handrails near the toilet and inside the shower or bath so they’ve got something to hold onto.
Non-slip mats: Make sure the bath or shower has a non-slip mat or adhesive strips.
Raised toilet seat: You could consider installing a raised toilet seat with armrests to make the process of going to the toilet a little easier.
Showers: Consider converting to a step-in shower with a shower seat. You could also look into a handheld shower head instead of a fixed shower head.
Bed height: Make sure the bed is at the right height for easy access. You could also consider bed rails for extra support.
Nightstands: Make sure nighttime essentials like glasses and medication are within easy reach. You could also consider a touch lamp so they can easily turn on the light in the middle of the night.
Heater: If they have a heater in their room, make sure it isn’t too close to the bed so it’s not a fire hazard.
6. Stairs and hallways
Handrails: Make sure any handrails are on both sides of the staircase and are securely attached.
Clear and bright pathways: Make sure the hallways are free from clutter and have lots of light.
Widen doorways: If your loved one has a wheelchair or walker, you may need to widen the doorways to make sure all areas of the home are accessible.
Well-lit pathways: Install motion sensor lights and make sure all outdoor paths are well lit so they can walk around outside if they need to.
Sturdy handrails: If there are steps to reach the entrance of the house, check that the handrails are sturdy and safe.
If you or your loved one would like some help to make sure the home is safe as can be, get in touch with us. At Five Good Friends, we help people lead engaged and successful lives at home. Give us a call. .
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